The entire afternoon was spent with Klaus and her going through her stuff. Bella realized that most of her wardrobe was comprised of her working clothes and weren’t quite decent enough to wear normally, and decided to keep a few things that could be used for parties or whatever and the rest, she put it in a bag to return to Myriam. Maybe some other girls could use them.
While Klaus had been helpful with sorting out the clothes, some outfits made his eyes darken and made him drool, he insisted that she kept all of her underwear as he planned on tearing some numbers off her body if she wore them, getting the both of them quite excited and ended up making love in front of the fireplace before resuming the cleanup process.
He graciously made space in closets and drawers and even on a few shelves here and there for her belongings, he drew the line at having Mr. Wiggles in bed with them. It was Bella’s oldest stuffed animal that she always dragged along for comfort. He looked tattered, but he was still there, just like she was. She found a nice spot for him, on her side of the bed, out of Klaus’ sight, but she knew that the stuffed animal was there.
And after dinner, she and Klaus withdrew to the parlour for her to go through the folder that Myriam had given Klaus. Bella hadn’t known about the existence of this folder, with important papers concerning her. She had an insurance policy, a health insurance and all other things that a human needed to be functional in the real world. She hadn’t thought about any of it while she was on the run, then again, Bella didn’t quite know how to adult anyway so she was grateful for Myriam having done this for her.
What surprised her most, though, was finding a note from Myriam telling her about the next papers.
You were always so gracious in insisting that you didn’t want any money for the time you put in for Débauche, whether it be administration or entertaining. So I didn’t pay you your wages. However, you worked hard, Bella, and you also handed off your tips as if money meant nothing to you.
Now that you’re in a position where you might want to buy things of your own, you need money, although there’s no doubt in my mind that Klaus will provide you with everything you need.
Ever since you first handed your tips over to me, willingly and so graciously, I made the decision of depositing that into a bank account in your name.
Spend it wisely, Bella. All the information that you need are in the bank documents.
With love, Myriam.
Bella blinked as she continued to look through her papers. “Did you know about this?” she asked Klaus, who was standing on the balcony with a glass of bourbon. “That she kept my tips for me?”
“Not at first, love,” he replied absently. There was something in the air, he could feel it, and it wasn’t good. “But it’s nice of her that she did.”
“I didn’t realize I had that much in tips over the last two years though. I mean… I’m not a dancer.”
“Ah, but you are very talented in other ways,” he said with a smile on his face. “There’s no doubt that some clients added a little extra later. You can spend some of your new found wealth on clothes.”
“Forget clothes, I want more books!” she joked and then nearly fell backwards into the fire when Elijah walked in, followed by a huge man. Muscles, dark hair, anger etched on his face.
“I thought I smelled swamp,” Klaus remarked as he turned around to face his brother and Jackson. “Did you have to startle Bella at this time of night?”
“What did you do with Hayley?” Jackson breezed.
“Tell me what you know,” Elijah added, briefly glancing over to Bella. “Hope’s in her crib, could you tend to her?”
“You go deal with Hope,” Bella shot at him as she got to her feet. “You come barging in here, accusing Klaus of something. Wrongfully accusing him, I might add. He’s been here all the time!”
“Who the hell is she?” Jackson demanded as he pointed at Bella.
“It’s alright, Bella,” Klaus smiled at her before walking towards his brother. “Has Jackson misplaced his bride? Come to think about it, I did read that global warming was affecting migration patterns. Try Georgia!”
“I just left the bodies of people I care about to rot in the woods because you left them defenseless against poachers!” Jackson shot at the hybrid. “Like Kingmaker Land Development. Does that ring a bell?”
“It does, it’s been brought to my attention that there’s a new company in town. Someone was actually worried that they were going to build in the Bayou!” Klaus replied with a snort. “What a ridiculous idea.”
“Yeah, the CEO is Lucien Castle,” Jackson spat. “Elijah tells me you two go way back-”
“So what do you know, Niklaus?”
Bella just stared at the men in front of her. So this was Jackson, Hayley’s husband. Hope’s stepfather. And Hayley was missing. And Lucien had something to do with it? That sounded absurd, really. He was a businessman, not a poacher. He probably also knew not to go after werewolves seeing as he’s a vampire and all. “I’m sorry, but what has Lucien to do with this?”
Klaus winced and Elijah’s head snapped to Bella. “You know Lucien?”
“Yeah, we met a couple of days ago. He held me for a few days,” she said nonchalantly. “Speaking of which,” she turned to Klaus. “He still has my blood!”
“I’m working on it, love,” he replied soothingly.
“So I’ll ask you again, what do you know?” Elijah demanded as he took another step towards his brother.
“As it happens, two days ago I had a romp with our good friend Lucien. You can find him in the penthouse of the gaudy new construction on Canal. And while you two are catching up, be sure to ask him about the prophetic vision he showed me of our family’s spectacular downfall. You could use a good laugh.”
“And ask for my blood!” Bella nodded.
Elijah sighed and pointed at Jackson. “You stay here. Niklaus and I will deal with this.”
“Actually, as long as Hayley’s prowling about on two legs and unaccounted for, I’m staying with my daughter,” Klaus said as he walked towards Jackson and eyed him suspiciously. “And, should I discover that this is yet another cock-eyed scheme for Hayley and you to abscond with her, the paltry remains of your beloved wolf pack will be sniffing at your entrails come morning.”
Jackson scowled at Klaus, which made Klaus smile as he moved to join Bella, only to be stopped by Elijah. “This doesn’t frighten you, brother. But, one day, your daughter will know exactly the kind of man that her father is. If anything should happen to Hayley, you mark my words- no one will have to take Hope from you. She will, without question, leave you of her own accord.”
Bella was amazed that Klaus just let Elijah speak to him like that and watched Elijah’s retreating back. “Wow, you’re such an asshole,” she remarked. “And who’s going to tell Hope that her own mother tried to take her away from her loving and caring father? Not you, I’m sure.”
“Stay out of this, Bella,” Elijah replied. “Hope is none of your concern.”
“No, but Klaus is and you know very well that he has the right to be angry.”
“We’ll discuss this later, we have an old friend to catch up with and you don’t want to hear that you’re wrong.”
“Asshole,” Bella muttered as she watched Elijah follow Jackson out.
Klaus sighed as he rubbed Bella’s back. “You need to be more careful who you piss off, love. Yes, I’m aware that you have my blood in your system, but if you’re going to die, it’ll be by my hand.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Shut up, Klaus. I’m going to see if Hope’s okay and you… well… do whatever.”
Amused, Klaus watched her as she walked away and made his way to the courtyard, calling Freya on his phone. Hayley was missing. She needed to be found. Yes, he was angry with her, but she did not deserve to miss out on the one night a month where she could see her daughter. He was cruel, but not that cruel. “Freya, I’m aware that 21st century technology remains a mystery to you, but when you see my name pop up on your phone, you answer it. Come home. Immediately.”
After he disconnected the call, he bumped into Camille. This late? What was she doing up this late? He decided to entertain her for the time being, and listened to her ridiculous accusations that Lucien was responsible for the murders in the Quarter. It didn’t sound like him. It was too sloppy, too messy and Lucien was a perfectionist.
However, the crime scene photo’s that she shared were stirring some memories within him, memories of long ago and now he wasn’t sure if it wasn’t Lucien. Cami had some compelling words about how NOLA PD wouldn’t be able to arrest a thousand year old vampire, and all that nastiness that came with it and told Klaus to make Lucien stop.
Why was everything about Lucien all of a sudden? What if Tristan and Aurora showed up because they believed in the same stupid prophecy that Lucien did?
Bella had fallen asleep in the rocking chair while holding Hope. For some reason, for someone who didn’t like children – Klaus knew this – this was the second time today that he found Bella asleep with Hope in her arms. Maybe it was because Hope wasn’t an ordinary baby, or maybe Bella did feel comfortable around her. All he knew was that the sight before him was a beautiful sight for sore eyes.
Trying to gently remove Hope out of Bella’s sleeping arms, he failed and Bella’s eyes shot open. “Look, I’m used to spending nights awake, but I usually sleep during the day. How on Earth is it possible for you to be still standing upright?”
“You can go back to sleep, love, I only need Hope.”
“She’s a child! She needs her sleep more than I do.”
“I’m not going to validate me waking up my daughter to you,” Klaus said as he held the baby who was starting to wake up. “But her mother is still missing and Freya needs her in order for her to do a locator spell. You can go to bed.”
Bella sighed as she rubbed her eyes and got up from the chair. “No, it’s alright, I’ll just put Hope back in her crib once you’re done,” yawning, she followed Klaus downstairs where Freya had set up to perform the spell. She sat down a little further away from them at a seat and poured herself a glass of bourbon.
Truthfully, Klaus had wished that Bella would have stayed upstairs, out of the high alert zone as he was uncertain about what would happen. He was anxious, kept pacing around with Hope in his arms, eyeing Freya, willing the spell to work. He was angry with himself now, he had only wanted to teach Hayley a lesson, not to completely take away Hope’s mother. If Hayley was dead, there was no way he could ever forgive himself for that.
Freya gasped as she finished the spell and looked at Klaus in shock. “I can’t find her,” she whispered. “It’s like she doesn’t exist.”
He looked at Hope, who was looking at him with her fingers stuck in her mouth and let out a breath. Fuck. “Or she’s dead.”
Bella looked up when Jackson and Elijah stormed back in, Jackson obviously having heard what Klaus had said. “No! No. No. You have to find her!” Bella poured herself another bourbon instead. It was time to get drunk.
Freya was still trying to find Hayley while Klaus kept anxiously pacing and just out of nowhere, Jackson doubled over in pain, his arms and legs moving in unnatural ways and Bella could hear the breaking of bones. Before she knew it, she had Hope back in her arms and Klaus was helping Freya to chain Jackson to the walls. “What’s going on?”
“It’s nearly morning, Jackson’s transforming back into a wolf,” Elijah replied kindly. “Please take Hope upstairs and stay there. Should he break free, we do not want you in harm’s way.”
Bella nodded as she stood up and headed for the other set of stairs. In the distance, she could hear Jackson plead with Freya to continue doing the spell, telling her that he couldn’t go a month without Hayley before his words were drawn out by his screams. Bella quickened her step, this was something she hadn’t seen before; the Quileute wolves just transformed without any effort, but it seemed as if the werewolves, the proper ones, were different in that way. The breaking and setting of bones? They had to go through that every month? It made her period seem less volatile and put in perspective.
She pulled Hope’s travel crib into the bedroom and gently put her down. “Go back to sleep,” she said softly before crawling into bed and hopefully, she’d get a few more hours in.
Bella let out a whine when she heard Klaus on the phone to Lucien as he was looking at his daughter. She was tempted to find vervain somewhere and simply inject the hybrid and his brother with it so they could sleep, but then again, with Hayley still lost, she could understand why he was still up. But it was frustrating and he was bugging his daughter who clearly needed her sleep as well, seeing as Hope was now whining.
When Klaus got off the phone, Bella threw a pillow at him. “Let her sleep.”
“You’re quite the mother hen, aren’t you?” Klaus said amused as he looked at her. “And here I thought you didn’t want to be her step-mother.”
“I don’t. I won’t. But she’s a defenseless baby and you keep waking her up. That can’t be healthy for a child.”
“It was a necessity-” his gaze shifted to the courtyard before pointing at Bella. “Stay here. Keep Hope here, mommy’s home.”
She watched him leave, and then got out of the bed to peek around the corner of the French doors while Hope was still in her crib. She couldn’t quite see what was going on, but at least she could hear it.
“Hayley. Come to apologize for all your transgressions?” Klaus sounded smug. All the anxiety of before was gone now that she was standing there. If she was as powerful as he had told Bella to be, why poke her with a jibe?
“Do you have any idea what you have taken from me?” Hayley growled and she soon screamed out in pain. Bella was tempted to peek over the balcony to see what was going on, but she imagined Klaus doing something. What was he up to?
“The very thing you sought to take from me- the chance to raise our daughter. Your punishment fits your crime,” Klaus said, and Bella had already said many times that she agreed with it. He was teaching her a lesson. However, she could also understand Hayley’s anger towards him. Seeing your kid only once a month must hurt.
“Your family was ruining her life!”
Bella could hear some fighting going on, but the grunts were mostly from the near-feral Hayley. “My family saved her life while you were off playing hide-and-seek in the forest!”
It must have been some fight, because soon, Bella could hear Jackson grunting. “Let me go! He’ll kill her!”
“He’ll kill you!” Freya’s voice sounded.
“There’s a very short list of people who’ve tried to take Hope away from me, and you’re the only one left breathing,” Klaus sounded calm. Oh, Bella knew what he was doing. He was giving Hayley the opportunity to vent her anger, which was good, she wouldn’t be able to kill him and she’d calm down in the process, perhaps working through things while she was beating him up. Not that Bella wanted him to get beaten up, but he was durable.
“Are you that delusional, Klaus? You cursed all of us! Every wolf that I fought for, everyone that stood up for our daughter. You took all of them away from their families!”
“Yes, yes, your precious pack, that family you chose over us, and in doing so, you chose over Hope.”
“Is that what you were planning on telling her when she got older and asked for me? That I abandoned her?”
Bella nearly fell backwards when all of a sudden, Hayley was on their floor. She closed the doors and made her way to Hope, who was now standing in her crib. Lifting her up, she held on to her as she listened for what happened outside.
“My parents left me! Yours turned their backs on you! Look at us now, Klaus!” Bella could hear how more punches were dished out and eventually Hayley screaming in agony.
“Niklaus!” Elijah’s voice sounded, probably trying to intervene.
“She deserves something better than what we had, and all I have ever wanted for her is something better!”
Bella looked at Hope and smiled at her. Hayley was right, in that. She hoped that Klaus would think the same way and quietly opened the doors. “Go to mommy,” she whispered as she put the girl down on her feet and pointed at Hayley. “Go on.” Hayley was still pushing and hitting Klaus and Bella wished she’d stop. The look on his face broke her heart, it was a mixture of realisation of the true extent of his actions and hurt. His face was bloody, but he would be alright.
“Fight back! FIGHT BACK!” Hayley screamed at Klaus.
When he looked over Hayley’s shoulder to look at Hope, his eyes fell on Bella, who was squatting inside the room, barely out of sight. He smiled when Bella seemed to coax Hope into walking towards her parents.
Bella saw Hayley turn around, eyes widened and her hand covering her mouth in shock. Hayley was covered in blood, but she doubted that it was her own and of Klaus’ doing. Guilt flashed over Hayley’s face, and she seemed to be calming down. “Ohhhh. She’s walking. When did she start walking?” Bella scampered backwards when Hayley walked towards them, unsure if the hybrid would start attacking her. “I missed it. I missed everything.” Bella watched as Hayley picked Hope from the floor and swallowed hard when Hayley looked at her.
“Hi,” Bella said sheepishly and waved.
“Who the hell are you?” Hayley growled as she held on to Hope, protectively, before looking at Klaus. “What? You wanted to give our daughter a new mother?!” she yelled at him, causing Hope to cry out. “Oh, I’m so sorry, baby, I’m so sorry,” she cooed as she eyed Klaus and stepped inside the room, feeling that this new person could be a threat to all of them. With Hope still in her arms, she charged at Bella, who was still on the floor, before someone, who wasn’t any of the Mikaelsons, pulled Bella to her feet and pushed her behind him.
“Hurt her and I’m gonna tan your hide, missy,” the man warned her.
Klaus rushed into the room, moving himself between Hayley and his daughter and this unknown person who had Bella behind him. Even Bella knew that Klaus would protect Hope at all costs, choosing her over Bella, and she wouldn’t have it any other way, on top of that, she had Klaus’ blood in her, she would be fine. “Who are you and what are you doing in my home?”
“I am makin’ sure that nobody touches a hair on this little lady’s pretty head,” he replied with a nod in greeting. “The name is Peter. I’m kinda in between last names right now as my sire is about as useful as tits on a daddy-turtle and kinda disappointed me by going after this peach. Considering with what I know, I choose her over him any day.”
Bella let out a breath as her eyes widened in shock and took a few steps back. No way. There was no way that he was here to protect her. “You’re Peter Whitlock!”
“Peter. Just Peter, girlie.”